2016 Toyota Corolla S
4:00

2016 Toyota Corolla S

Auto Tech
The Corolla is Toyota's oldest nameplate, tracing back uninterrupted to about the mid 60s. As a matter of fact, for about as long as there's been a Toyota in North America, there's been a Corolla in its lineup. And the decades have been good to the answer. It's enjoyed a long period of success where for many years its only real competition was the Honda Civic. But then things went a bit pear-shaped. Almost literally, the Corolla got a little fat, got a little lazy and it just sort of stopped innovating at the same [MUSIC] Taste as the rest of the market. Yet the Corolla is still one of the most popular cars on the road, so we picked up this 2016 Corolla S Special Edition to find out just what's so special about it. [MUSIC] Now despite it's really aggressive Probably over designed exterior. The Toyota Corolla isn't really packing what I'd call a modern power train. For example your average Corolla driver is only nominally interested in the fact that the 1.8 Liter engine puts out 132 horse power and 128 pounds. Of torque. The 1.8 liter engine is paired in most Corolla models with Toyota's new CBT IF, that's a continuously variable transmission that has a manual shift program. On the road and on the highway, the engine and transmission combo work together pretty well for that sort of basic transportation sort of driving style. It responds particularly well to smooth input. So, for example, if you want to Pass someone on the highway, don't stab the pedal, just sort of roll onto it and ease into the gas. If you're the kind of person who treats the accelerator like an on/off switch you're gonna start noticing a little bit of hesitation and uncertainty from the transmission in choosing ratios, which is gonna make the whole car just feel a whole lot more disappointing. Now at the base of the shifter we've got a little button that says sport. Don't press that. Don't ever press that. As a matter of fact, get a screwdriver, pry it out of here and forget it ever existed. You end up with a lot of that sort of rubber bandy hunting for the right ratio Hesitation that you typically associate with bad CVTs. And, the car ends up feeling less responsive than it does in its normal mode. You absolutely must chuck your Corolla S into a corner, just reach down and slap the transmission into its manual shift mode. That's going to give you access to the paddle shifters, where you can choose from six Six ratio, much like you would with an automatic transmission. There's a lot of body roll and squat and dive, which ends up making extended passages on a twisty road feel a lot more fatiguing than they probably should be. The Corolla's interior design is A bit old school. It's got a high dashboard, and its infotainment system is down low in the dash, where the rest of the market is sort of pushing the infotainment up higher into the line of sight, and using larger screens. Here we've got this relatively small in tune system, but it's a pretty good infotainment setup. It's not what I would call cutting edge, but it is snappy in its performance, and things are generally Where you expect them to be. Now what I don't like is the basic speaker stereo system that we've got with this Corolla. Probably the worst stereo I've looked into all year. Granted, most of the cars that come into our office have a premium audio system but my 1999 malta miato system works better than this With the top down. If you absolutely need more performance than what I just described there, here's a really cool trick. Hop in your Toyota Corolla, head down to your Toyota dealership, and then trade it in for a Scion FRS. It's about the same amount of money. [UNKNOWN] you'll thank me later. It can be a bit difficult to speak critically about Toyota Corolla because for me here this sets the standard for what this class of vehicle is. So it was the standard. I'm not sure it's the gold standard anymore. Vehicles like the Hyundai Alantra and the new Mazda 3 are really eating the Corolla's lunch right now. And it's old rival, the Honda Honda Civic just got a really big update that's looking really good by comparison. [INAUDIBLE] about 18 to 25 thousand dollars, any of those vehicles is probably a better pick, but this one, it's not bad.

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